Shanoff's WUC: Yanks Rule AL, TCU Rules BCS

Today's Calls: Yankees vs. Phillies, CC Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee, Eli Manning vs. Alex Smith, Carson Palmer vs. Brett Favre, TCU vs. BCS, Tim Tebow vs. Sam Bradford, Rasheed Wallace vs. Rashard Lewis and More. ↵

↵AJ BurnettThe Opening Pitch: The Yankees can't be satisfied yet. ↵

↵

↵I know they’re back in the World Series for the first time since 2003. That's a good reference point: Way back then, folks were freaking out about Aaron Bleeping Boone and the Yankees' dramatic seven-game ALCS win against the Red Sox. The Yankees were BACK. ↵

↵

↵But despite the emotional pennant, it was still "World Series championship or bust." That's why — in losing the title to the Marlins — that New York AL pennant winner was a failure. ↵

↵

↵The Yankees didn't spend a quarter-billion dollars this year just to get back to the playoffs. Or merely to win the A.L. championship. The entire goal — the "win or bust" goal — is the World Series title. ↵

↵

↵A-Rod can afford to be thrilled about finally making it to the Series — but he is a perennial loser. (And, no matter what his stats in the playoffs so far, he's still a loser if the Yankees fall short over the next two weeks.) ↵

↵

↵The rest of the team can't (and shouldn't) afford the same feeling. ↵

↵

↵When we think back to the last time the Yankees made the World Series, we ultimately don't remember the Yankees' thrilling ALCS title; we remember their jaw-dropping World Series failure. ↵

↵

↵The Yankees’ job isn't done yet. Not even close, actually. ↵

↵

↵NFL Talking Points: ↵

↵

↵— Just when you thought you had the NFL figured out ... : The Cardinals go into the Meadowlands and beat the Giants — and it's the Cards' defense that gets the job done. ↵

↵

↵— Then again, how could you not see THIS coming: The Vikings lose to the Steelers. (That would be the signature Favre game-killing pick-6 with a minute to play in the game, the most predictable occurrence of any NFL season.) ↵

↵

↵— Yet another sign that this is the Saints' year? How about being throttled by 21 on the road just halfway through the second quarter, then storming back to win decisively? (On a day when Drew Brees threw three picks and had a sub-60 QB rating?) ↵

↵

↵— More good omens: How about the nearly half-a-hundred that the Bengals hung on the Bears? At some point, fans are going to have to acknowledge that Cincy is a legit playoff contender — hey, just like the town's college team. ↵

↵

↵— We could debate whether the Colts or the Patriots are the best team in the AFC right now, but wouldn't it be more interesting to debate whether the Bucs or Rams — who the Pats crushed in London and the Colts throttled over here — are the worst team in the league? ↵

↵

↵— Miles Austin as the new Larry Fitzgerald? No team needed a big win as badly as the Cowboys needed that win over the Falcons. ↵

↵

↵— Three teams that might as well pack it in for the season: Raiders (obliterated by the Jets); Browns (destroyed by the Packers); and the Panthers (stymied by the Bills). If you're a fan of one of those teams, what are you rooting for this season? If it's anything but "better draft position," you're wasting your emotion. ↵

↵

↵— Fantasy Stud: Alex Smith (206 yds, 3 TDs... off the bench! It almost doesn't even matter that the 49ers lost — at least Smith made it interesting.) ↵

↵

↵MNF: Eagles at Redskins. What a fortuitous moment for the Redskins to have the entire national stage to themselves in primetime. Their management is a wreck. Their coach has been neutered. The team is a joke. And they finally have to play a team that isn't oh-fer the season — and it's a division rival, with every incentive to win, coming off a shocking loss to a terrible team. This will be ugly. ↵

↵

↵(By the way, the best news the Redskins could have gotten this weekend? That Joe Gibbs has no intention of coming back to run the team — that would have simply made it more of a circus sideshow, not made the team better.) ↵

↵

↵BCS Watch: You can hate the BCS system, but please recognize that it generated the right outcome this week when TCU passed Boise State, on the strength of the Horned Frogs' superior schedule. (This is exactly what I was talking about in the lead of Friday's column.) ↵

↵

↵In fact, based on the uninspiring performances Saturday from Florida, Alabama, Iowa and USC, I would argue TCU is a lot better than the sixth-best team in the country right now. (And, on the road, TCU destroyed the team, BYU, that thoroughly outplayed Oklahoma on the same kind of neutral-field conditions that seemed to stymie Texas against the Sooners.) So let's go right into ... ↵

↵

↵My BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot Top 10: (1) TCU, (2) Cincinnati, (3) Texas, (4) Florida, (5) Alabama, (6) Iowa, (7) Houston, (8) Boise State, (9) Oregon, (10) USC. (See the complete list here.) ↵

↵

↵CFB Must-Read: Matt Hayes' BCS case for Cincinnati — I totally buy all of this, which is why I have the Bearcats in my Top 2 this week (and have been high on them all season long). ↵

↵

↵Heisman Watch: Alabama RB Mark Ingram appears to be a one-week wonder. Tim Tebow is out of it — for now — after the worst performance of his Florida career. Jimmy Clausen? Oh, please. I think Colt McCoy regains the lead, on the strength of his well-it-was-better-than-all-the-other-contenders performances. (Alabama DT Terrence Cody? Please. He's not even the best defensive player on his own team, let alone the conference, let alone the country. If you want the novelty of a great defensive player, try TCU's Jerry Hughes.) ↵

↵

↵By the way, if I had to pick a college football coach of the year, can I have Monte Kiffin? ↵

↵

↵Another SEC officiating debacle: I agree with Dan Mullen — the Florida-Mississippi State replay official totally blew that pick-6 by Florida, which was really a Nate Newton-style goal-line fumble when Dustin Doe celebrated too early. How does a replay official screw up an obvious fix? If the SEC keeps suspending all the officials who are incompetent, they'll have to borrow from other leagues by the time the SEC Championship game comes around. ↵

↵

↵Bradford Watch: Well, it's about freaking time. About 10 months too late, Sam Bradford finally shuts down his college career — starting with shoulder surgery this week, then declaring for the NFL draft as quickly as he can do it. Dumbest draft decision of the decade? Yes. Even if Bradford still goes in the Top 10 — or is the first QB taken — he could have been No. 1 overall in 2009 ... and unhurt. ↵

↵

↵World Series Watch: Cliff Lee will go in Game 1 for the Phillies, and there's not much better news (or more obvious news) than Phillies fans could ask for. (You have to think he'll go against CC Sabathia — ALCS MVP — in one of the most intriguing head-to-head WS pitching matchups in recent memory.) ↵

↵

↵More MLB Playoff Griping: How refreshing that the complaint isn't about the umpiring but about the scheduling — Mike Scioscia would not do well in the NBA, where absurdly and artificially elongated playoff series are the norm. ↵

↵

↵MLB Offseason: If I was the Cardinals, I wouldn't hire franchise disgrace Mark McGwire to have any role in my organization — let alone hitting coach — unless he came clean about his use of PEDs — even if they weren't against the rules when he used them. (Heck: ESPECIALLY if they weren't against the rules when he used them. He should have no reason NOT to come clean.) ↵

↵

↵Hiring Carousel: The Indians hire Manny Acta, who was most recently seen failing miserably with the Nationals. The Padres hire GM Jed Hoyer, who has been Theo Epstein's right-hand guy in Boston since Theo got the top job. That should be more than enough to get Padres fans fired up about him. ↵

↵

↵SN NBA Countdown: No. 3 Celtics. Let's see — they added Rasheed Wallace? Yeah, he'll totally be able to match up with the leading "stretch four" of the conference, Orlando's Rashard Lewis. (Bethlehem Shoals is similarly bearish on Boston's age issues.) ↵

↵

↵I actually like SN's No. 4 pick, San Antonio. Between summer acquisition Richard Jefferson and draft-night steal DeJuan Blair, they are the best shot in the West to upend the Lakers. (Get Shoals' take on S.A. here.) ↵

↵

↵Charles Barkley as an NBA GM? That would be a terrible choice by a team to hire him. ↵

↵

↵CBB: SN Countdown No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 17 Clemson, No. 16 Cal — I'm underwhelmed by the trio. ↵

↵

↵Scandals: Steve Phillips was fired by ESPN. Here's hoping he can focus on his personal life and leave his professional future for another time. ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: I have to go back to the designation of 49ers QB Alex Smith as the Fantasy Stud of the Week, for his 206 yards and 3 TDs, off the bench in relief of the ineffective Shaun Hill. If you started Alex Smith — for whom there was no reason to believe he would play — you are either the greatest GM in fantasy football history ... or the worst. Either way, I have to know: Did ANYONE start this guy? (Also acceptable: Starting Vernon Davis, who caught all three TD passes.) ↵

↵

↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.